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Man Shoots Down Camera Drone in Jersey

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Man Shoots Down Camera Drone in Jersey
A New Jersey man was arrested after police say he shot down a neighbor’s remote control drone. On Sept. 26 a man called police in Lower Township to report that his drone was shot down while he was taking aerial photos of his friend’s house, which is under construction. He lost control of the drone as he heard gunshots and found it with several holes consistent with a shotgun blast. Police arrested Russell J. Percenti, 32, on charges of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and criminal mischief.

Playing Videogames Improves Elderly Brains
Nature: Video gaming is a highly pervasive activity, providing a multitude of complex cognitive and motor demands. Gaming can be seen as an intense training of several skills. Associated cerebral structural plasticity induced has not been investigated so far. Comparing a control with a video gaming training group that was trained for two months for at least 30 minutes per day with a platformer game, we found significant gray matter (GM) increase in right hippocampal formation (HC), right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and bilateral cerebellum in the training group. The HC increase correlated with changes from egocentric to allocentric navigation strategy. GM increases in HC and DLPFC correlated with participants’ desire for video gaming, evidence suggesting a predictive role of desire in volume change.


Saudi overhaul reshapes Islam’s holiest city Mecca

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Saudi overhaul reshapes Islam’s holiest city Mecca
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — As a child, Osama al-Bar would walk from his home past Islam’s holiest site, the Kaaba, to the market of spice and fabric merchants where his father owned a store. At that time, Mecca was so small, pilgrims could sit at the cube-shaped Kaaba and look out at the serene desert mountains where the Prophet Muhammad once walked.

Secret Service chief quits due to security lapses
WASHINGTON (AP) — The embarrassing disclosures about lapses in presidential security just keep coming for the Secret Service.

Review: Pay by phone or just keep using plastic?
NEW YORK (AP) — PayPal, Apple and others are betting on billions in mobile payments.


One year in, Obamacare marketplace still subject to political spin

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

One year in, Obamacare marketplace still subject to political spin
Politicians continue to cherry-pick information about Obamacare as they judge the new health care system’s success so far

Could the U.S. have done more to prevent Ebola from arriving?
Was the U.S. government’s response to the outbreak in Africa too sluggish?

White House fence jumper pleads “not guilty”
Omar Gonzalez, who was arrested Sept. 19 after making his way into the East Room of the White House, pleaded not guilty to three charges


Fox Host Brian Kilmeade “Would Love To See” Allen West “In A Leadership Role With The Secret Service”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Fox Host Brian Kilmeade “Would Love To See” Allen West “In A Leadership Role With The Secret Service”

From the October 1 edition of Fox News Radio’s Kilmeade & Friends:

Previously:

Wash. Post Piece Calls For Allen West To Head Secret Service

Allen West Tells Military To Disobey Commander In Chief

What The Media Should Know About GOP Surrogate And Fox News Contributor Allen West


Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene
Thomas Sowell, RealClearPolitics
Random thoughts on the passing scene: What a non-judgmental society amounts to is that common decency is optional — which means that decency is likely to become less common. The biggest issue in this fall’s election is whether the Obama administration will end when Barack Obama leaves the White House or whether it will continue on, by appointing federal judges with lifetime appointments who share President Obama’s contempt for the Constitution. Whether such judges will be confirmed by the Senate depends on whether the Senate continues to be controlled by Democratic Majority Leader Harry…

Christie’s Job Approval Drops; Clinton Leads Him in ’16 Poll
Adam O’Neal, RealClearPolitics
Nearly a year after his landslide re-election victory, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has earned one of his lowest job approval ratings ever, according to a Quinnipiac University survey. Forty-six percent of respondents approve of the way Christie is handling his job, while 45 percent disapprove. It’s the poorest grade for the Garden State governor since June 2011. While Republicans and Democrats remain at odds in their sentiments about Christie (the former approve by an 82-13 margin and the latter disapprove by a 70-21 margin), independents split their approval and disapproval almost…


UK’s Lord Hill meets his EU critics

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

UK’s Lord Hill meets his EU critics
Lord Hill reaches out to MEPs nervous about his business links

VIDEO: PM to Labour on NHS: How dare you?
David Cameron accuses Labour of spreading “complete and utter lies” about his party’s plans for the NHS.


Dems make risky bet against McConnell

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Dems make risky bet against McConnell
Spending $1.4M on a statewide TV ad bashing McConnell is a gamble.

Putin Supports Project to ‘Secure’ Russia Internet

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Putin Supports Project to ‘Secure’ Russia Internet
Mr. Putin said a plan to isolate the Internet in Russia was only intended as a backup security system to keep Russian domains online in a national emergency.






Netanyahu Sees Arab Alliance Aiding Mideast Peace
In the Oval Office, the prime minister said an Arab alliance against the Islamic State was promising, but Obama focused on Israeli settlements as problematic.






Sinosphere Blog: Q. and A.: Scott Moore on Moving China’s Water from South to North
Scott Moore, an expert on China’s water policies, discusses why the Chinese government has committed so much money and effort to the South-North Water Diversion Project, which will carry water from the Yangtze River and its tributaries and channel it to northern China, where water shortages are worsening.






Man in U.S. With Ebola Had Been Screened to Fly, but System Is Spotty
Since the Ebola virus began spreading through West Africa, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been pushing the worst-hit countries to implement screening for air passengers.






World Briefing: Canada: Shipwreck in Arctic Identified
The wreck of a ship discovered last month after being trapped in Arctic ice in the 1840s has been identified as the H.M.S. Erebus.







Top Women’s Soccer Players File Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against FIFA

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Top Women’s Soccer Players File Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against FIFA

The lawsuit results from FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association’s decision to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on turf surfaces, which women’s players say would never happen for men.

The post Top Women’s Soccer Players File Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against FIFA appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe, two players challenging the decision to play the Women's World Cup on artificial turf fields, celebrate a goal during the 2011 World Cup.

Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe, two players challenging the decision to play the Women’s World Cup on artificial turf fields, celebrate a goal during the 2011 World Cup.

CREDIT: AP

A group of top women’s soccer players from across the world on Wednesday sued the Canadian Soccer Association and FIFA, the sport’s international governing body, alleging gender discrimination around the 2015 Women’s World Cup, which Canada will host in June. NBC Sports first reported the lawsuit, which top players, including American stars Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, had threatened for months over FIFA and the CSA’s decision to hold the Women’s World Cup on artificial turf fields, a decision the players say makes the game more dangerous for them and would never happen for the men’s World Cup.

The lawsuit filed in Ontario by more than 40 international women’s players claims that the decision to hold the World Cup on turf is “inherently discriminatory” and violates Canadian human rights laws for three major reasons: that it changes the way the game is played, poses “unique and serious risks of injury,” and requires them to play on a “second-class surface.”

“This differential treatment based on sex constitutes a violation of section 1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code,” the lawsuit states.

FIFA officials said this week that they would play the Women’s World Cup on turf and that “there is no plan B.”

The suit cites pictures from players to show that playing on turf causes more injuries, including “skin lesions, abrasions, and lacerations,” and scientific research showing that turf is harder on players’ bodies, particularly knee and ankle joints.

The players have pointed to the fact that men’s club and international players regularly have their voices heard when they don’t want to play on turf, as many clubs and international teams that tour the United States and Canada have required venues to lay natural grass surfaces over artificial turf before they will play (the Canadian men’s team refused to play on artificial turf during 2014 World Cup qualifying). The women, however, say that FIFA has ignored their concerns and a survey taken at a tune-up tournament last year in which more than three-quarters of women’s players said they did not want to play their marquee tournament on turf. Every men’s World Cup in the past has been played on natural grass, and each of the next two is scheduled to take place on grass too.

“It’s about doing the right thing, and I think this is the right thing to do,” Abby Wambach, the star of the U.S. Women’s National Team, told ThinkProgress in September. “We have to fight this fight for this World Cup and World Cups in the future. We have to make sure FIFA knows this is not OK. And they know it’s not OK. If you were to ask all of them, they know that they would never do this for the men.”

Hampton Dellinger, the attorney representing the players, said in a statement Wednesday that the players hoped to resolve the issue with FIFA and the CSA “through good faith negotiations rather than litigation,” but “have no choice” but to take legal action because FIFA has ignored them.

“After the spectacular success of World Cup 2011 and the 2012 Olympics, CSA and FIFA could help women’s soccer reach even greater heights,” Dellinger said in the statement. “Instead, the leaders of CSA and FIFA are embarrassing the game and, even more, themselves. The gifted athletes we represent are determined not to have the sport they love be belittled on their watch. Getting an equal playing field at the World Cup is a fight female players should not have to wage but one from which they do not shrink. In the end, we trust that fairness and equality will prevail over sexism and stubbornness.”

The post Top Women’s Soccer Players File Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against FIFA appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Why It Matters That Lena Dunham Wrote About Being Raped In College

The actress’ new memoir includes a candid exploration of sexual assault that highlights the confusion over what exactly rape looks like.

The post Why It Matters That Lena Dunham Wrote About Being Raped In College appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Actress and author Lena Dunham poses at a signing for her book

Actress and author Lena Dunham poses at a signing for her book

CREDIT: AP Photo/Starpix, Kristina Bumphrey

In Lena Dunham’s new memoir, which was released this week, the 28-year-old Girls star recounts an experience of rape that she didn’t immediately realize was rape. It’s a prime example of the confusion often swirling around situations that may seem to fall somewhere in between the “consensual” and “non-consensual” camps.

As reported in TIME, Dunham initially describes a sexual encounter during which she suddenly realized her partner wasn’t wearing the condom she thought he had put on. She told him he should probably go. Later, after confessing to her readers that she’s an “unreliable narrator,” she returns to that scene — acknowledging that although she previously described it as “the upsetting but educational choice of a girl who was new to sex,” that’s not the whole story. Dunham writes, “in fact, it didn’t feel like a choice at all,” and concludes she was raped.

Dunham was drunk and high at a college party, where she ran into a “creepy” guy named Barry who was sexually aggressive toward her. They went back to her room, and she tried to convince herself that she was really choosing to have sex with him, until she noticed that he hadn’t put on a condom and kicked him out. In the book, she describes it as “a sexual encounter that no one can classify properly.” When her roommate told her it was rape, her first reaction was to laugh.

“I feel like there are fifty ways it’s my fault… But I also know that at no moment did I consent to being handled that way,” Dunham writes.

Dunham’s experience encapsulates the current gulf between popular rape narratives — like a stranger jumping out of the bushes and violently assaulting an unsuspecting woman — and the actual experiences of rape in college, which are more complicated and typically perpetrated by acquaintances at parties or in dorm rooms. One of the biggest challenges when it comes to addressing the rates of sexual assault on campus is overhauling society’s assumptions about what rape looks like. Like Dunham, there are a lot of people who aren’t comfortable classifying these seemingly ambiguous situations.

But, thanks to a lot of recent activism around the issues of sexual assault prevention and rape culture, college students are working hard to educate their peers about what consent actually looks like. At a very basic level, they’re emphasizing that someone who is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol — like Dunham was that night — cannot legally consent to sex. But they’re also going further, demanding a paradigm shift when it comes to how we approach sexual encounters altogether. Instead of the absence of a “no,” which has historically been the standard for establishing consent, colleges are moving toward requiring the presence of a “yes.”

This concept of “affirmative consent,” which was popularized by feminist writers Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti, who wrote a book about it, was enshrined into law this week in California. “Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent,” the new state law notes. “Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.” Colleges there are now required to adopt this standard.

California’s “Yes Means Yes” law has provoked considerable backlash from critics who say it’s too unrealistic, predicting it will end up turning every student into a rapist unless they go through a very unsexy checklist at the beginning of each encounter. But an affirmative consent standard would actually work toward addressing the very dynamics that contributed to Dunham’s assault — a culture that has taught women to be sexually passive and men to be sexually aggressive, which can create situations in which women are not quite comfortable with what’s happening and simultaneously not quite comfortable saying no.

Without affirmative consent, it’s easier for college students to slip into those ambiguous situations. It’s easier for young women to go along with something that they think must be a normal part of college hookups only to later realize, as Dunham did, that they didn’t actually consent to be treated that way. After all, society’s approach to female sexuality has taught women that sex is something that simply happens to them, rather than something they should be an active participant in.

By setting a precedent that consent requires active and enthusiastic participation between both partners — driving home the message that you should only have sex with people who clearly want to have sex with you — colleges can start to address some of those dynamics. Of course, emphasizing affirmative consent won’t immediately transform every sexual encounter between students. But it could start to provoke more of these conversations, contributing to an overall culture shift around sexuality.

Public figures like Dunham can help nudge us toward that shift, too. By explaining how that sexual encounter made her feel, and acknowledging it took time to realize she was raped, Dunham is adding her voice to the growing movement to confront everyday sexual violence. And she might help some of the young women who read her book find the words to name past experiences that they hadn’t previously known how to classify.

The post Why It Matters That Lena Dunham Wrote About Being Raped In College appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Bangladeshi Workers Organize to Protect Their Most Valuable Export: Themselves

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Bangladeshi Workers Organize to Protect Their Most Valuable Export: Themselves
From: Foreign Policy In Focus

Migrant domestic workers from Bangladesh enjoy little protection from their government, but they’re not alone.

10,000 Workers Strike in Support of Hong Kong’s Protests
From: Michelle Chen

Can the protests go beyond calls for greater electoral transparency, to embrace a truly social democratic agenda?

The Death of the Blackout Rule, and Why the NFL Fights On
From: Dave Zirin

The FCC ruled 5-0 against the NFL, showing that their stranglehold over government and fans could be coming to an end.

Federal Affirmative Action Guidelines for Construction Haven’t Been Updated in 30 Years
From: Michelle Chen

Why are we setting diversity goals based on the 1980 census?

Voting Rights Victory in North Carolina
From: Ari Berman

Civil rights groups bring power back to North Carolina voters by challenging a restrictive voting law.